civ·​i·​lized ˈsi-və-ˌlīzd How to pronounce civilized (audio)
: characteristic of a state of civilization
civilized society
especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint

Example Sentences

A civilized society must respond to crime with fairness and justice. Stop yelling. We have to be more civilized about this. Try to act like a civilized human being! a civilized way to spend the evening
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, the interiors perfectly marry the Bucklands’ civilized London aesthetic with their love of downtown Manhattan’s gritty history. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, 15 Apr. 2023 Although its performance specs are not blistering numbers today, the 993-series 911 Turbo was one of the most capable—surely most civilized and fun to drive—sports cars of its time. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 10 Apr. 2023 Basically, everyone is doing his or her job to drive civilized businesses out of Russia. Sebastien Roblin, Forbes, 5 May 2023 It's tuned to be slightly more civilized than raw, so there are more hardcore driving experiences out there. Brendan Mcaleer, Car and Driver, 15 Apr. 2023 As for the problems that women used to face, they have largely been resolved: today, in the most civilized countries, women have access to education and occupy increasingly high positions in society. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 The Iranian government has trespassed the boundaries of civilized behavior. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 3 Dec. 2022 Modern tailgating—popularized around college football games in the eighties and nineties—is largely a more civilized affair, with yard lines instead of front lines and the convenience of just popping your trunk to get the party started. Outside Online, 9 Sep. 2022 Back in the days of real-world European empires, this might have seemed like a civilized and stable state of affairs. Tom Shippey, WSJ, 10 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'civilized.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of civilized was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near civilized

Cite this Entry

“Civilized.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on civilized

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